Swedish Government’s Story on Renditions Appears to Change

Yesterday, an English-language Swedish newspaper, The Local, reported that Anders Jorle, from the Sweden’s Foreign Ministry, called a “failure” the inability to keep 2 Swedish citizens from being rendered to the United States from Djibouti.

That statement suggests that the Swedish government actually tried to do so.  Jorle’s language is decidedly interesting: In fact, he states that the Swedish “proposed” that the men, Mohamed Ali Yusuf and Ali Yasin Ahmed, be returned to Sweden. Proposed, but not insisted.

But Jorle’s position is still at odds with his statement, issued after a visit by officials from the Swedish consulate to their citizens in NY, where they insisted that they had no opinion on the men’s guilt or innocence–but that they would leave it up to the US to decide that question:

As the Washington Post reported on January 1, 2013:

Anders Jorle, a spokesman for the ministry in Stockholm, said Swedish diplomats were allowed to visit the men in Djibouti and New York to provide consular assistance.

“This does not mean that the Swedish government has taken any position on the issue of their guilt or innocence,” Jorle said in a telephone interview. “That is a question for the U.S. judicial system.”

It is also striking, as I have written, that the Swedish government lodged no official protest against the rendering of their citizens.

The Swedish Foreign Ministry’s position also clashed against the story told 6 days ago by Gösta Hultén, a journalist and spokesperson for the civil rights movement Charter 2008 in SvD, a Swedish-language newspaper. There, he reported that an American intelligence agent told the 2 men on September 24, 2012, that they were waiting for permission from the Swedish government to bring them back to the United States.  According to him, the men were actually rendered to the United States in mid-November, but their families and attorney were only informed of this fact on December 7—over 2 weeks before they were formally charged in NY.

And yet, Hultén suggests, even as late as December 17, the Swedish Foreign Office would neither confirm nor deny that the men had been extradited to the US.

As many are asking, it is unclear why these men were rendered to NY, given that the charges involve no crimes against Americans or the United States.  Moreover, given the absence of objections by the Swedish consulate in their December 23 statement, one wonders whether and how hard they tried to keep their citizens from being rendered “extradited” to the United States.